After you scroll through a Yelp page, a social media account, and a website, you’ll begin to notice a trend among businesses: the most successful and those with the most sales are the ones taking advantage of online reviews.

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If you’re looking to take advantage of this same success and up your profits, then here are four ways online reviews can do it:

  1. They Build Trust in Customers

There are some businesses out there better suited for the black market than traditional commerce, and we all know it. You only have to browse around for that Star Trek special edition DVD online and find yourself three weeks later, delays in shipping, and money in the hole to know not all businesses are created equally. Unfortunately, each boasts of themselves as the best thing since sliced bread, and telling the low-quality apart from the high-quality is a task few of us are up to. Online reviews offer a solution, and customers know it.

– They offer unbiased opinions

No matter how much a customer smiles and thanks you for your time, when they’re at home later on with only their web browser to judge them, the review they submit is their own. Many online reviewing sites allow customers to post anonymously or under an assumed name, so there’s no way for you to send Guido after them or a bouquet of apologetic flowers, and because of that, this opinion is accepted as more truthful among viewers. If a customer complements you online, then it’s honest; and if they don’t, it’s honest too, encouraging future customers to either turn to you or turn away.

– They show your level of popularity

As easy as it is to post a review, we can all admit to clicking over to Netflix as soon as we get home rather than Yelp. For every one customer you have that posts a review, another ten have likely passed up the chance – not because they thought your customer service made your butt look big, but because they didn’t want to take the time. A business with many online reviews proves that several customers are trying out your service or product, enough for the numbers to increase despite the call of Netflix telling them to do it later, or never. If people sense popularity around one business, they’ll trust it over the lesser-known business with no reviews.

– They show your ability to navigate the modern market

Most customers will seek out information about a business online before ever trying them out. For a customer searching your name online, seeing that you’ve taken the time to ask for reviews, join online-review websites, and host testimonials on your website shows them that you’re capable and conscious of what the consumer wants – making them choose you.

  1. They Boast of Unexpected Features

While you may have put your heart and soul into designing the most outstanding, glittery, can-walk-on-water product imaginable, there will still be elements of it that customers see which you don’t. You may have emphasized its ability to cure cancer in your marketing campaign, but an online review will also let you know that it’s great for making fish glow in the dark. With these new and unexpected insights, you can add this to the way you advertise and to whom you advertise, broadening your sales.

  1. They Give Insight for Improvement

Online reviews can be as much for you as they are for your customer. You are now presented with unbiased feedback on your strengths and weaknesses, and how people truly view how you do business – something you can take advantage of.

– They show you where customers are displeased

A bad review shows where your business lacks. No one wants someone to punch them in the face so they know they’re bad at dodging, but in the modern online market, the harsher and more awakening the criticism, the faster you can apply new fixes and pull ahead of the speeding competition. Perhaps a customer complained about slow customer service; now you know more employees must be hired to speed up the process, existing employees should be reprimanded or retrained, and new technology should be implemented to help with your customer service department.

– They show you what is popular, allowing you to capitalize on it

When you’re done fanning yourself from an excellent review, it’s time to put the work boots back on and decide how you can utilize this advantage. By seeing what customers like, you know your strengths. This allows you to tailor your marketing approach, emphasizing on what you’re truly skilled at to draw in more customers; focus more effort on making that asset even greater, perhaps even overshadowing your weaknesses; and analyze why this asset is so special to apply those advantages to other departments.

  1. They Draw Google’s Attention

Google is harsh but fair, and rewards those who are popular among web-surfer. While different SEO keywords and some tweaking to the format of your website can garter you a more favorable view from Google, nothing is more valuable than good ol’ fashioned word of mouth – and on the internet, that’s online reviews.

– They generate traffic

A Yelp page with several reviews on it will be the first suggestion over one with none. People will trust where the flock congregates, and that means that having online reviews will draw more attention and traffic simply by existing – you don’t have to do anything.

– They boost your search engine results

Most people never click beyond the first page of Google. Think about it; you don’t either. This means that being at page six of Google puts you in the graveyard with porn sites and static pages for foot-care, and when trying to draw attention to boost sales, that’s a death sentence. By having online reviews, you’re proving to Google that you are not only trustworthy as a business, but popular among the consumers of that niche, making them place you higher in the results.

Sales come from quality service or products, customers’ willingness to give you a try, and by generating talk about what you offer. Online reviews offer all of this in one.